Sven nears the exit door

Swede gets FA ultimatum after talking to Chelsea behind their backs

Sven Goran Eriksson was yesterday set to be issued with an ultimatum by the Football Association after the latest revelation that he has held talks with Chelsea over succeeding Claudio Ranieri in the summer. Officials at the FA, led by the chief executive Mark Palios, were due to tell the Swede that, within the next few days, he must make a public declaration of his intent to stay.

Sven Goran Eriksson was yesterday set to be issued with an ultimatum by the Football Association after the latest revelation that he has held talks with Chelsea over succeeding Claudio Ranieri in the summer. Officials at the FA, led by the chief executive Mark Palios, were due to tell the Swede that, within the next few days, he must make a public declaration of his intent to stay.

They realise it will be untenable for the England coach to continue in his post without signing the two-year contract extension that has been offered to him. His current deal runs out after the 2006 World Cup and the FA want him to sign now - and are adamant that they will not make an improved bid despite Chelsea's continued interest. The FA are offering a £500,000 increase on his £3.5m-a-year salary but even that would be eclipsed by any offer from Roman Abramovich.

The FA confirmed they had no idea that Eriksson had again met with Chelsea's chief executive, Peter Kenyon, on Thursday - just 24 hours after dining with the FA's executive director David Davies - until pictures of the clandestine gathering were published yesterday. However, they admitted that a meeting did take place.

It appears highly likely that Eriksson will now go, but a source at the FA said yesterday: "If Eriksson has not already had a conversation with Mark Palios he will be having one to discuss the situation. It is very unlikely Eriksson will not be manager at Euro 2004, but there is no doubt he misses club management, although at the same time he loves the England job."

That may be so but Eriksson could yet be forced out before Euro 2004 in Portugal. Contingency plans are in place which may involve Trevor Brooking, the FA's head of football development, taking charge temporarily along with an experienced coach such as Steve McClaren, who has worked for England before.

Ironically, McClaren, the Middlesbrough manager, is likely also to be wooed as Eriksson's assistant at Stamford Bridge. It is also possible that the Swede, who has fretted about the public and media reaction to a move to Chelsea, will decide his future lies elsewhere, like Real Madrid and Internazionale. Eriksson says offers are on the table from clubs around Europe.

The timing is damaging for both England and Chelsea. Eriksson, 56, who was at Charlton Athletic yesterday and will be at Highbury today, last night named his squad for Wednesday's friendly against Sweden and the FA will be aware that speculation over his future will dominate preparations.

But Ranieri was not letting the intrigue worry him. He said in a statement yesterday: "I am most definitely not talking to any other football club. All I'm doing at the moment is focusing on trying to do my best for Chelsea this year."

Eriksson was first offered Ranieri's job as head coach last June although, after he was caught sneaking into Abramovich's home, he claimed that he had simply been "taking tea". And last month Eriksson maintained he was "amazed and surprised" at the continued rumours linking him with Chelsea. Nevertheless suspicions have remained and Palios was angered by the latest photographs prompting his decision finally to confront Eriksson.

The Swede is aware that the chance to take over at Chelsea is unique, making him the best-paid manager in the world with almost unlimited funds to spend. If he has said 100 times "no" when challenged about the Stamford Bridge job, it was 100 times "yes" for Chelsea yesterday against Wolves as Frank Lampard marked his 100th consecutive Premiership start with the goal that made it 2-2 before the substitute Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored a hat-trick that included his 100th Premiership goal to wrap up a 5-2 win.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all